A man holds a sign in protest against the six-month scrap iron ban during a motorcade from San Fernando to Port of Spain in August. – MARVIN HAMILTON
As a six-month ban continues to be enforced, Government plans to develop a policy on regulating the scrap-iron industry.
It has allocated $600,000 toward this exercise, as outlined in the initiatives of the $6.2 billion 2023 Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).
“The scrap iron industry has emerged as an important contributor to economic activity as it provides jobs, stimulates exports, generates income, earns foreign exchange and rids the environment of derelict items including scrap metal.
“The sum of $0.6 million will be allocated towards the development of a policy to strengthen the existing regulatory framework governing the scrap metal industry in TT taking into account international best practices and unique national circumstances.”
The project under the development of eco-friendly business sector is designed to achieve the following objectives:
• development of an appropriate and effective regulatory, incentive and export promotion framework for the scrap metal industry;
• improvement of the health and safety standards of the scrap metal industry;
• development of domestic, regional and international value chains for the scrap metal industry; and
• modernisation of the legislative framework governing the scrap metal industry.
In August, Government imposed the ban on the export of old and scrap iron to deal with the theft and vandalism of state and private assets. It remains in effect until February 23.
Attorney General Reginald Armour said then a regulatory framework would be drafted by November to be presented to Cabinet.
In the interim, the trade and industry and energy ministries has reviewed and granted licences to permit the handling of certain types of materials.
Scrap iron dealers and workers have protested the ban, saying being out of work meant they could not take care of their families, and even faced the closure of their yards.